At the beginning of the last academic year, a colleague asked me what advice I would give myself as new student. After some thought, the simplest, yet all encompassing, thing I could come up with was this: show up.
Let me explain. When I was heading to college, the one thing my dad told me was to go to class. So, I went to class. I realized the biggest battle was just being there. Yes, I needed to do my assignments and study, but all that falls into place if you show up to class.
People who I am connected with on social media often say, “You do so much! You always go so many places!” To me, it is just a matter of showing up. If I am invited to do something, want to be there, and have the means to be there (time usually being #1), I show up. Whether it is a networking event, guest speaker, festival, grand opening, meeting, celebrity appearance, or what have you, I cannot experience it without showing up.
To me, I cannot fully live my life without showing up.
Sometimes it can be scary. “Will I know anyone there? Will I be underdressed? Will it be boring?” Well, you know what? I won’t get to experience any of it if I don’t show up, so I get there. Sometimes it’s with friends. Sometimes it’s underdressed. Sometimes it is boring. More than that, it’s worth my time.
Sometimes it’s not with friends. Sometimes showing up means being willing to show up alone. It happens. I recognize this can be extremely difficult for some people to get over. I completely recognize it. However, if I want to experience something badly enough, I will show up alone.
And I’m okay with that. I have been to many concerts alone. I have seen speakers alone. I have gone to restaurants alone. I have been on trips alone. I have even been to the occasional scary networking event alone.
And you never know what will happen in those situations. I have met stars of TV shows alone. I have had amazing meals alone. I have seen Broadway shows that made me cry alone. I even met my boyfriend when I decided to go on a trip alone.
All because I showed up.
Ultimately, I am not here to tell others what to do. However, I will give the same advice to you I gave to those students: show up. You never know what amazing things it will bring.
***I am hoping to make “Show Up” a series on here. If you have a story of a special experience you had when you showed up, drop a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear how showing up influenced your life!***